Friday, December 21, 2007

Still Infamous

In the better late than never department, here's our just-released video of the Crooked Still-Infamous Stringdusters collaboration from Strawberry Spring 2007. With both bands having since lost founding members (Rushad Eggleston and Chris Eldridge), this particular configuration of Still Infamous may never occur again.

Note that this jam took place a month after the same two bands plus The Duhks and Uncle Earl had conducted a "New Generation Jam" at MerleFest. Check this video by riglpo for that group's earlier version of "Cold Joe Lark," also performed here.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Tune Up for MerleFest

MerleFest returns for its 21st year in April 24-27 in Wilkesboro NC—Levon Helm's Midnight Ramble and the collaboration of Ricky Scaggs and Bruce Hornsby top the bill. Tune up for the festival with this annotated playlist featuring two tracks by each scheduled major festival performer.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

New Dylan at Newport DVD is an instant classic

I wasn't old enough to be at Newport in the early sixties, but what happened there shaped my development and a music fan and person. Now we see for the first time a faithful filmed recording of Bob Dylan at Newport 1963, '64, and '65, courtesy of the new Murray Lerner film The Other Side of the Mirror, released this month on public television, in theaters and on DVD.

Of the many Newport retrospectives available, this is the film for your DVD collection, a rare sharp focus on a great artist's early years as he finds his unique voice. What I am most struck by is, first, the youth and innocence of the 1963 Dylan, and then how imperceptibly sophistication displaced it. By the time he plugs in for "Like a Rolling Stone" in 1965, he is a confident artist leading his fans down a new path.

For full reviews, see the New York Times and Pop Matters. We have it selected as the featured DVD in our comprehensive selection of festival films available in our DVD store, where you browse more than 60 DVDs by genre or select from our all-time best list of festival films.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007



LYONS, COLORADO — December 3, 2007 — Planet Bluegrass proudly announces the preliminary lineups for the 2008 summer festivals, including the historic 35th Anniversary of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. All 2008 festival tickets go on sale on Wednesday, December 5 at 8am MST, including a limited number of holiday-priced passes for each festival, discounted $30 from the regular price. Tickets will be available online at or at 800-624-2422.

35th Telluride Bluegrass Festival - June 19-22, 2008 – Telluride, CO
* Ricky Skaggs & Bruce Hornsby with Kentucky Thunder * Sam Bush Band * Ani DiFranco * Yonder Mountain String Band * John Cowan & Darrell Scott Band * Tim O'Brien * Bela Fleck * Peter Rowan * Jerry Douglas * Edgar Meyer * Brett Dennen * Spring Creek Bluegrass Band * And many more...

36th RockyGrass - July 25-27, 2008 - Lyons, CO
* Dan Tyminski Band * Natalie MacMaster * Sam Bush Bluegrass Band * Abigail Washburn & The Sparrow Quartet featuring Bela Fleck with Casey Driessen & Ben Sollee * Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas & Edgar Meyer * JD Crowe & The New South * Psychograss * John Cowan Band * Russ Barenberg & Bryan Sutton * Peter Rowan * Infamous Stringdusters * Chatham County Line * Bearfoot * The Steeldrivers * Spring Creek Bluegrass Band * And many more...

18th Rocky Mountain Folks Festival - August 15-17, 2008 – Lyons, CO
Greg Brown * The Waifs * Tim O’Brien * Todd Snider * Sarah Sample * And many more...

Tickets for the most coveted camping spots at Telluride Bluegrass (Town Park Campground) and RockyGrass (On-site campground) both sold-out in November through an online lottery. Planet Bluegrass received a record number of entries for each of these lotteries. Entries for Telluride Town Park increased over 50% from last year, with entries coming from 47 different US states as well as New Zealand, Norway, Germany, and other countries.

Both Telluride Bluegrass and RockyGrass sold-out in advance last year. All of the 3,500 tickets for RockyGrass were sold by early May last year, over two months in advance of the festival. All camping for the 2007 Telluride Bluegrass were sold-out weeks before the festival, with single-day tickets selling out the week prior to the festival.

Often cited as the “granddaddy of the modern festival circuit” (Relix Magazine), Telluride Bluegrass is unique for its rich traditions and a unique spirit of collaboration that has birthed numerous bands (Leftover Salmon, Strength in Numbers) and created a loyal group of artists and festivarians who return every June for the annual “festivarian family reunion.” At least five of this year’s headliners have performed at the festival for over 25 years. The 35th Annual Telluride Bluegrass will be held during both the summer solstice (June 21) and the full moon. Historic footage of the festival is available online:

Long a leader in “sustainable festivation,” Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, jr. declared June 23, 2007 Colorado Bluegrass Day - honoring Planet Bluegrass for "using renewable energy to help protect our environment while producing a world-class festival."

The 36th RockyGrass lineup sees the more traditional acoustic bluegrass festival broadening its roots to encompass newgrass (Psychograss), Celtic (Natalie MacMaster), and old-time (Sparrow Quartet), as well as more traditional bluegrass (JD Crowe, Dan Tyminski Band). In addition to the festival and its legendary campground jams, the week prior to the festival several hundred budding musicians take part in the RockyGrass Academy, featuring instruction from many of the festival’s headliners.

Now in its 18th year, the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival welcomes back several of its most cherished singer-songwriters, including Greg Brown who will be making his 11th appearance at the festival. The “summit of the song” welcomes a stylistically and geographically diverse set of songwriters to perform along the banks of the St. Vrain River each August. The week prior, songwriters focus on the art, craft, and business of songwriting at The Song School.

Planet Bluegrass will be making several additional lineup announcements in the coming months. This preliminary lineup announcement reflects about half of the performers who will perform at the four-day Telluride Bluegrass Festival. RockyGrass and Folks Fest both present approximately 22 performances over the course of three days.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Hot Rize reunion heads Grey Fox lineup announcement

The influential progressive bluegrass quartet Hot Rize will reunite in July at the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival for a 30th anniversary celebration. Formed in 1978 by Tim O'Brien, Pete Wernick, Charles Sawtelle, and Nick Forrester, the band performed regularly at all the major roots music festivals throughout the 1980s, and have come back together on many occasions since.

After Sawtelle's passing in 1999, several other guitarists have had stints with the band. Most recently, Bryan Sutton played with the band with it played a series of dates in 2002 and 2003. Since then, Hot Rize has made few appearances, but last July the three regulars and guitarist David Grier played at the wedding of actor Steve Martin, with the groom sitting in for several songs on banjo.

It is unknown if the Grey Fox booking is a one-time occasion, or if Hot Rize is undertaking a reunion tour with stops at other festivals this summer. The band's alter-ego, Red Knuckles & The Trailblazers, will also appear at Grey Fox in a separate set.

The partially announced Grey Fox lineup also includes David Grisman Bluegrass Experience, Del McCoury Band, Jerry Douglas Band, Sparrow Quartet, The Grascals, Uncle Earl, The Infamous Stingdusters, The Greencards, Adrienne Young & Little Sadie, Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper and more. As always, Dry Branch Fire Squad serves as the host band. The full details are here.

As earlier noted on this blog, Grey Fox might also see the beginnings of a new collaboration, when David Grisman and The Infamous Stringdusters are both set to appear on Friday at the festival. Two weeks ago, Dawg and the 'Dusters played together for the first time at Freight & Salvage in Berkeley CA.